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The Telegraph | Wood River Kiwanis makes $12,000 contribution to ... - Alton Telegraph

WOOD RIVER — A one-of-a-kind playground will soon entice those whom are young at heart, of all abilities, with help from a volunteer-based organization’s efforts.

Plans for the resurfacing of a play area in Alton’s Gordon Moore Park were made possible partly by Wood River Township Kiwanis Club, which recently donated $12,000 to Alton Parks and Recreation Department to help complete the installation of an all-inclusive playground. The playground will be universally accessible for children and adults of all abilities.

Michael Haynes, director of Alton Parks and Recreation, said he discussed the project a few months ago with Wood River Township Kiwanis, a club whose mission is to support children and their families.

“Wood River helped with the rubber surfacing when the department didn’t have enough resurfacing funds,” said Haynes.

The foundational surface of the playground is to be compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act, such as having a proper grade.

“Kids of all abilities will be able to play together. It will be the only one of its kind within a 30-mile radius,” said Haynes.

Haynes said the donation goes toward the installation of a rubber, flat surface easily maneuverable for all, including playground visitors perhaps using wheelchairs or walkers. Ultimately, the new surface is safer in comparison to common wood chip-covered playground surfaces.

The Alton-Godfrey Kiwanis branch also made a contribution, donating $10,000 toward resurfacing funds. This portion of the project costs around $300,000.

Sidewalk installation around the perimeter of the playground is to start this week. Resurfacing was completed over a week ago. Haynes said labor for the project is mostly volunteer.

The donation in the form of an oversized check was presented by Wood River Township Kiwanis Club to Haynes at the club’s popular BBQ fundraiser Thursday. About 20 of the club’s 45 members showed up to facilitate the event.

The quarterly BBQ event raises money for various children’s charities, such as Boys and Girls Club, scout troops and city libraries, said current Wood River Township Kiwanis Club president Eric Smith. The club reaches out to area schools and other organizations in an effort to support youth and their families, whether it be a new pair of shoes for the winter, a playground to enjoy or BBQ meals to devour.

Smith said the club has been serving up BBQ for about 62 years, with a steady stream of customers visiting the stand located at 1368 Vaughn Road last week.

Smith manned the fundraiser, while upcoming club president Donna Jacobs helped facilitate other operations with about 20 or so other club members.

“Instead of having extra money on hand (from fundraisers) we’d rather give it away,” said Jacobs, who assumes the president position Oct. 1. “We’ve had good support from the community.” She said about $50,000 of BBQ fundraiser proceeds is given away a year.

Lieutenant governor over nine Kiwanis clubs throughout the area, Bruce Cooper, who was also present, said the Wood River Township Kiwanis Club has donated about $1 million over the past dozen years.

As far as the playground, Haynes said a grand-opening will probably take place in the next two to three weeks, but an official date will be announced soon.


About 20 members of Wood River Township Kiwanis Club helped present a $12,000 check to Michael Haynes, director of Alton Parks and Recreation, to help fund the resurfacing project for all-inclusive playground at Gordon Moore Park. The donation took place as the club’s quarterly BBQ fundraiser, where members served food to a steady crowd of customers at the former auto-body shop of Hutton Ford, 1368 Vaughn Road. Wood River Kiwanis has a total of 45 members, but is looking for those interested in the cause of serving youth to join the club.


Lieutenant governor of nine Kiwanis clubs Bruce Cooper, left, and Wood River Township Kiwanis Club president Eric Smith, center, pose with an oversized check, presented to the director of Alton Parks and Recreation, Michael Haynes, as a donation to the resurfacing of an all-inclusive playground in Gordon Moore Park. Haynes said the park is planned to open in the next two to three weeks.


Current Wood River Township Kiwanis Club president, Eric Smith, removes roasts from a large smoker at the club’s BBQ fundraiser last week. Smith said the roasts cook for about four to six hours, in a smoker that can hold roughly 143 roasts. Club member Donna Jacobs will take over as club president come Oct. 1, as positions rotate on a yearly basis.

Donation benefits resurfacing

Reach reporter Brittany Johnson at 618-208-6460, ext. 1396.

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